History lovers will enjoy exploring Denton, Texas, a city with a long and diverse past that’s closely linked to the growth of Denton County. If you’re interested in taking a step back through the pages of history to discover what this area was really like in the past, make plans to stop by some of these fascinating historical sites in Denton.
Bayless-Selby House Museum
The Bayless-Selby House Museum is located in the Denton County Historical Park, which is just south of downtown Denton. If the walls of this house could talk, they would tell stories of triumph, tragedy, and everything in between. Today, you can visit the Bayless-Selby House Museum and see what life was like for prosperous Texans in the 19th century.
While the first recorded history is in 1894 when the Bayless Family moved in, the full history of this house is unknown. Even though historians know the history stretches back further, they’ve only recently been able to trace ownership back a few more years. The home features ornate Queen Anne architecture, and its rooms showcase rare and unique antiques from this era.
Among the interesting artifacts you can see during your visit is the hair wreath, which were popular during the Victorian era. People would fashion the hair of a deceased loved one into ornate designs to honor their lost loved ones. The wreath in the Bayless-Selby House has hair from 17 different family members. There’s also an old-fashioned doctor’s office that displays all types of unusual medical equipment that were once used to treat patients.
Built in 1896, the Denton County Courthouse is the county’s iconic centerpiece in the downtown square and is one of the most photographed buildings in the state. W. C. Dodson, one of the state’s leading 19th century architects, designed the courthouse and incorporated materials from across Texas, including limestone from Denton, tan sandstone from Mineral Wells, red sandstone from the Pecos region, and pink granite from around Austin, to give the building a distinct look.
These days, the Courthouse Museum-on-the-Square is an exceptional place to visit if you want to learn about the history of the area. Not only is it the final resting place of John B. Denton, for whom the county and city are named, but there’s also a museum with exhibits of various cultures in the area, the county’s history, and the area’s western heritage.
The Campus Theatre is a true part of Denton’s history. The building that houses the theater, which was built in 1949, started as a classic movie house, and at that time, it was one of the most state-of-the-art movie houses in the southwest. Not only did it cater to the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University students, but it was also the place to go for date night and weekend family entertainment. Despite its popularity, the movie house eventually closed in 1985.
Around that time, the Denton Community Theatre was looking for a permanent home. It originally leased space in the Firehouse Theatre, then transferred to the Denton Civic Center, but neither of these locations could handle some of the theater’s productions. In 1990, Denton Community Theatre finally found its permanent home at the Campus Theatre. When you go to see one of the plays or musicals or enjoy a film festival at the Campus Theatre, you’ll have an opportunity to explore the unique architecture and history of the building while enjoying an outstanding performance.
Denton County African American Museum
The Denton County African American Museum, which is also known as the Quakertown House, is another historic attraction in the Denton County Historical Park. When you step inside the museum, you’ll learn about the lives of African American residents in the area from the 19th century to today.
The home was originally built in 1904 in the historic African American community of Quakertown and has been relocated to several different places in the city. Quakertown was a thriving community located in Denton, but when Denton residents purchased the Quakertown property to create a city park, the residents lost their neighborhood.
Some of the families and homes from this area, including the Quakertown House, were moved to Solomon Hill. In 2003, the city planned to destroy the historic home to make way for new housing, but the Historical Park Foundation of Denton County took the opportunity to purchase the home, moved it to the Denton County Historical Park, and opened the Denton County African American Museum.
Taylor Cabin, which is located in Denton County Historical Park, was initially built in Corinth in 1868 and is one of only a few buildings from this time that are still standing. The land the cabin once stood on was owned by William and Susanah Wilson and sold to Augustus and Esther Serren in 1858. While no one knows for sure which family originally constructed the cabin, tree-ring dating shows the wood logs were cut between 1867 and 1868. Augustus and Esther’s son eventually sold the property to John William and Ida Taylor in 1903.
The Taylors grew peanuts, corn, and cotton on their land and raised 10 children in the cabin. In the 1940s, they were eventually able to get electricity to the cabin, which made life easier for the family. After John William and Ida passed away, their son, Robert, continued to live in the cabin until his death in 1992. Many of the restored artifacts and furnishings in the cabin come from the Taylor family and reflect what life was like around 1900. You’ll also get a unique look at the way people lived in log cabins through the Great Depression.At Huffines Kia Corinth, we love to explore the unique history of Denton by visiting these interesting historical sites in this area. Did we include your favorite historical spot? If we missed one, please be sure to contact us and let us know so we can add it to this list!